Calcium and Other Nutrients in Soil, Water and Plants

Digging and moving my compost heaps, I found eggshells and bones, all over a year old and barely decomposed. I figured it is the high amount of calcium in them that makes them so hardy. This made me wonder how that calcium will ever make it into my garden vegetables. In what shape or form can the calcium in the eggshell, and the calcium originating from the bedrock, be taken up by plants?

This issue turned out to be not so simple, and very interesting. So a two-page, two-entry (tops!) explanation became a much longer exposition, in the following parts:

  • part 1: Original presence of calcium in the soil
  • part 2: The soil’s ability to hold on to this calcium
  • part 3: Water and pH
  • part 4: Solubility and chemical weathering
  • part 5: Soil structure, flocculation, salinity and sodicity
  • part 6: Soil base saturation and soil pH
  • part 7: Water uptake through osmosis, turgidity, root pressure and transpirational pull
  • part 8: Selective nutrient (and water) uptake by roots

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